FINANCIAL ACCOUNTABILITY IN LIFE & MINISTRY
Dr. Wole Gbogboade
Text: Ezra 1: 5-11
The issue of financial accountability is so vital in Ministry from the Bible days. Today, it has become a big issue in the body of Christ because many ministers and Ministries are facing serious challenge in this area of Ministry. Yet, finance is as necessary for the work just as the ministry itself which is tempting some ministers to focus more on finance at the expense of souls that should be the main factor in Ministry.
1- First, they gave themselves first to the Lord and for His work in building the temple. Ezra 1: 2-3
2- In the building of the temple in Jerusalem, the heads of the tribes of Israel gave articles of gold, silver, goods, livestock, valuable gifts and freewill offerings.
3- All their neighbours also assisted them with gold, silver, goods and livestock with valuable gifts.
4- King Cyrus also returned all the articles of the Lord’s House that Nebuchadnezzar took from the temple in Jerusalem.
5- They took inventory of all the funds and materials people gave for the work of the Lord’s temple. Ezra 1: 9-11; 2: 69. More provision came along the way and full account was given especially those given by the returnees from exile. The Governor also gave as well as heads of families. Ezra 7: 70-72
HOW THEY RAISED THE OFFERING
1- Willing heart Ezra 1: 5
2- Give self. Ezra 1: 2-3; 2 Cor. 8: 5; 9: 7
3- Give according to ability Ezra 2: 69 (NIV)
4- Give freewill Ezra 1: 5; 2: 68
5- Bountifully with joy service. Ezra 3: 10-11; 2 Chro. 29: 9, 17-18; 2 Cor. 9: 12
6- No intimidation or compulsion, no deception, no cajoling nor trickery, no lying. Nobody was forced to give whether home or abroad. 2 Tim. 3: 12-13; Exo. 25: 2; 36: 6-7. On the part of the people, there was no reluctance. 2 Cor. 9: 7
1- Ezra raised qualified people with expertise to work on the temple and paid them.Ezra 3: 7; 6: 8
2- He gave proper account of money and resources both human and materials. Ezra 8: 24-35.
a- He chose honest people to handle treasures for God’s house
b- God fearing people
c- They all fast and prayed
d- They relied on God
e- They kept the gold, silver etc save
f- They gave account
g- They delivered all safely
h- They never tampered with it
3- He lived by faith. He did not put his hope in the ministry resources. Instead, Ezra lived a life of faith in God. Ezra Gal. 3: 11
Lack of Financial Probity:
Remember, the Eli and his children died tragic death and the ministry gave birth to ichabod because of mismanagement of the Church offering. 1 Sam. 4: 21-22. Also, his failure in managing God’s offering made Him to change His promise. 1 Sam. 2: 30
Blessings of good financial stewardship:
1- Increase in finances. Luke 16: 11.
2- Promotion Pro. 22: 29. Matt. 25: 21, 23
Lesson to learn Rom. 14: 12
1- Separate your money from that of Ministry money
2- Don’t steal God’s offering. Once you or the people give, it belongs to God. 1 Sam. 2: 17, 29
3- Don’t pledge and fail to give all. Acts 5: 1-2
4- Give sound/good offering. Mal. 1: 7-8, 14. Deut. 23: 18
5- Choose competent and honest people to be in charge of the treasury
6- Two or more should count money, not only one person to avoid mistake and temptation
7- Those in the treasury should not necessarily be signatories
8- There should be adequate security in the treasury to prevent crime and to protect members from undue exposure to attack
9- All monies should be banked
10- Whatever money is raised for is what it should be used. DON’T USE MONEY MEANT FOR MISSION TO PAY RENT etc. By using money for what is raised, you will develop integrity among your members. Also, they will be willing to support any other project you mention to them in future.
11- Make ledgers for different offerings:
a- Church Tithe & Offering Lev 27: 28-29. Deut. 14: 28:29
b- Tithe of tithe 10% Num. 18: 26
c- 10% of the offering for saving
d- Benevolence Acts 11: 29
e- Mission etc 1 Cor. 16: 2
12- Nobody should be allowed to keep Church money at home because of risk and temptation
13-Money should be judiciously spent to avoid waste. Purchase of stuff for Ministry use should not be vested on only one person. There should be witness.
14-Receipts should be obtained for record purpose and for accountability.
15- For capital project, quotation should be obtained from many like 2, 3 or more people from different sources before committing fund yourself and before any payment is made. By maintaining prudence in Ministry, you will manage resources well for optimum advantage.
16- Avoid building with debt as much as possible to avoid unnecessary stress especially when you have no visible means to pay back.
17- Don’t do anything illegal because it may backfire on you and the Ministry. Ezra got necessary government/royal backing with legal documents before embarking on the project. The enemy tried but, they overcame because of the legitimacy of the work. Ezra 7: 12-26.
18- In addition to the life of faith that Ezra lived among the people, he was committed to prayer; to study the word, live and teach. Ezra 7:10. Acts 6:4
Ref. 2Kings 12:14-15; 2Kings 22:3-7; Matt. 25:14-30; Acts 4:36; Acts 5: 1-1
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